McCharles family, travel

Sooke Road Trip

Rob and Yvonne invited me along on a road trip to Sooke.

First stop was Port Renfrew where they were able to (tentatively) book their annual fishing charter. Salmon and Halibut the goal.

I was able to book accommodation for myself and Brian the night before we start on the West Coast Trail — June 15th.

I’d forgotten how chilly and windy it can be on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It was cold here on the pub patio.

Floating dock had not yet been floated. It was already mid-May.

We continued the scenic drive towards Victoria where Rob and Yvonne had booked their favourite hotel — Sooke Harbour.

I’d stay there again. Two bedroom units for less than $200 / night.

Next day we had the typical morning fog.

I jumped on my bike for the long ride back to Parksville.


Victoria to Nanaimo by bike

Call it a training day.

IF I had ridden the most direct route, it would have been about 106km.

But I stayed off roadways as much as possible. My longest riding day (up to this point) had been about 130km. This one was longer.

GREAT weather.

Goldstream Campground was full when I arrived late the day prior.

I found a nice spot nearby.

This is the third time I’ve ridden via Victoria on the Trans Canada GREAT TRAIL. By far the best cycling route on the island.

Kinsol Trestle

Krakatoa by Simon Winchester

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded is a 2003 book by Simon Winchester covering the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.

36,000 victims.

Underwater lines of communications were just starting to work well (after the introduction of covering them with rubber) making Krakatoa one of the first worldwide news stories.


… “a trove of wonderfully arcane information.” …

WEST of Java, by the way.

Simon Winchester is a terrific writer. I’ll definitely be reading more. He makes science entertaining.

related – REVIEW – Shock and awe when Allah blew his top


Persuader by Lee Child

I thought I’d read all the Jack Reacher books — but somehow missed the 7th, Persuader (2003).

And this is a good one.

Jack Reacher is working unofficially with the DEA to bring down a boy’s father, Zachary Beck, who is suspected of smuggling drugs under the pretext of trading in oriental carpets.

They stage a kidnap effort on Zachary’s son, Richard Beck.

Reacher rescues the boy gaining access to Beck by working as a hired gun/bodyguard.


Girl in Red – Honey, I’m not doing so well

A retro, melancholy vibe.

This was put together by a fan as the official Girl in Red track has no official video, as yet.

Girl in Red is the indie pop music project of Norwegian singer-songwriter and record producer Marie Ulven who rose to prominence online with her homemade bedroom pop songs about queer romance and mental health.

She’s not yet gotten popular in the USA or Canada.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

GREAT book published 2020.

I can’t compare it to anything else. Absurd comedy.

A poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

New Year’s Eve in a small Swedish town.

In a robbery / hostage taking gone wrong, it’s all “Stockholm Syndrome” by the end.

A heartwarming read.

Related – Review: Kindness and compassion win the day in Fredrik Backman’s ‘Anxious People’


The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell

There are 8 books in the Inspector Kurt Wallander series, starting with Faceless Killers.

Set in Sweden.

Man Who Smiled is #4 — easily the best so far.

After killing a man in the line of duty (in The White Lioness), Inspector Kurt Wallander finds himself spiralling into an alcohol-fuelled depression.

He has just decided to leave the police when an old friend, Sten Torstensson, asks him to secretly investigate the recent death of his father in a car accident.

At first Kurt dismisses his friend’s suspicions as unlikely, but then Sten is found murdered in exactly the same manner as a Norwegian businessman shortly before.

Against his previous judgement, Kurt returns to work to investigate what he is convinced is a case of double murder.


Shadows in Death by JD Robb (Nora Roberts)

Seems this is the 51st book in the series. ✍️

HOW is Nora Roberts able to write so much?

She works 8 hours a day. Every day. Day after day. Sometimes writing 3 books in a series simultaneously.

Lt. Eve Dallas is a tough NY cop sometime in the future.

This book STARTS WITH A MURDER. Very quickly we learn Lorcan Cobbe was the hit man.

Eve’s husband knew Cobbe when they were hoodlum kids. And the killer seems to want to hang around to kill them both.

Book’s not bad.

government, TV

Borgen – Season 1 (2010)

Lists of BEST NATIONS typically include Denmark close to the top.

But their government seems as chaotic as any.

Borgen is a Danish political drama television series. 

In DanishBorgen, lit. ’The Castle’, is the informal name of Christiansborg Palace where all three branches of Danish government reside: the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court, and is often used as a figure of speech for the Danish government. …

… against all the odds, Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Sidse Babett Knudsen)—a minor centrist politician—becomes the first female prime minister of Denmark. …

On Netflix the English voice over and captions are hilariously bad. BUT I did enjoy the characters and story lines. It gets great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Newsweek called Borgen “the best TV show you have never seen”.

NY Times:  “bleaker, Nordic version of The West Wing

A U.S. remake of the series is planned.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.